Trace carefully the stages of David’s increasing awareness of the dangers of contravening the image of the norm, bringing out clearly the increasing fear he feels for his own safety and that of the rest of the “group” David increasing awareness of the dangers of contravening the image of the norm, stems from 2 parallel processes; as he grows up he understands more of what is happening around him and the nature of his dangerous society, and also through experiences and incidents in which he is involved; which leads him to a greater awareness of the dangers of being different.
The first incident occurs when David has these strange dreams of a city that is non-existent in Labrador and tells Mary about it; Mary then warns David not to talk about his dream, “she went on to warn me very seriously not to mention it to anyone else,” David although at this point is not aware of the dangers of being different, but nevertheless he takes the advice of his sister.
The effect of this on David is quite powerful; he takes the advice of not telling this to anyone else and more than that; this piece of advice from Mary, kept him from telling anyone else about his special “understanding” that he has with Rosalind, “Without it I might have mentioned the curious understanding I had with my cousin Rosalind,” this is due to his powers of ESP (although he doesn’t know it yet), that he has with Rosalind.
Although his left-handedness does cause some comments and slight disapproval, it does not however make David think that he is not a “norm”. The incident with Sophie’s feet and her urgency over it; because of her six toes does not bring home to David that she is not a “norm”, he puts it to Sophie being a girl and all their mysterious ways, but what does make him a little bit aware is the fact of Mrs.
Wender’s reaction to Sophie’s feet being found out, she makes David promise to not tell anyone about Sophie’s feet, but what is more important is that she unwittingly projects her fear, her sheer terror of her daughter’s feet being found out by Joseph Strom’s son through her weak ESP to David, who picks it up and is disturbed by the disproportionate amount of anxiety for one small toe, and it is only in hind-sight that he puts that day as the day his doubts starts, “It is in hind-sight that enables me to fix that as the day when my first small doubts started to germinate.
” But at that time David has made no connection to his dad’s preaching with Sophie’s feet, until he reaches the bank and although he does make the connection, he does not fully connect Sophie’s toes to the idea of being a mutant, “I was abruptly perturbed. ” In chapter two, David is not really aware of the nature of being a mutant and even though his house is adorned with sayings and his head is filled with his father’s preaching, he himself does not make any kind of connection to Sophie being a mutant or himself a mutant.
The splinter incident in chapter 3, where David says that had he had 3 hands instead of 2 then he could have bandaged the hand by himself, “I could have managed alright if by myself if I had another hand. ” This prompted his father to be angry and commenced to grind him down and in the end punished him, “Pray, you wretched boy… I will come to you later. ” This shows that David is not aware that having another hand is not the norm and that he does not realize fully the severity of the situation of having another hand.
In the night where he has time to reflect on the incident, he lay there puzzling over the fact that he had only thought of having 3 hands and got punished, but what would happen if one really does have an abnormality such as an extra toe? This incident made David increasingly aware of the seriousness of mutation and all the punishment that goes with it. Also it is not the punishment that made him aware; it is the fact that the reactions of the people; the nature of the disproportionate anger to David that brings home to David the severity of the situation of being a mutant in his society, and not the punishment.
After the splinter incident, in the same night he had a nightmare of Sophie being killed by his father because she was a mutant. His dream of this incident stems from an incident further back, where a calf was killed. In this dream it shows plainly that David now knows the predicament of Sophie if she ever was caught and the severity of being a mutant. The incident with Uncle Axel finding about him and Rosalind communicating via ESP is a further example of David’s increasing awareness.